Tag Archives: Google Search

New Tutorials: How to set up Google Custom Search and Google Analytics!

Google provides a number of great services for you and your site. Two of the most important are Google Custom Search, and Google Analytics.

The stock WordPress search function is pretty lame, and Google Custom Search far outstrips it in speed and depth of search. The new article, “Google Custom Search Setup,” gives you step-by-step instructions with many illustrations on how to get a Custom Search account, and how to implement it easily in your Thesis theme.

Everybody needs information on what’s going on with their site to plan and make decisions. Google Analytics is a very powerful tool that gives you what you need. “Google Analytics Setup” shows you how to set up a Google Analytics account in an easy-to-follow format with lots of illustrations.

Both these new articles are found in Tips under the “Google Services Setup” submenu.

P.S. Watch for an article on how to set up Google Webmaster Tools soon!

Google Custom Search Setup

The search capabilities of the standard WordPress widget is woefully lacking. It’s slow and misses a lot, and despite a host of plugins that enhance its capability, it still can’t hold a candle to Google Search.

This article shows you how to set up Google Custom Search for your site, how to get the various bits of code that Google offers, and how to install the search bar and search page on your site.

Setting up Google Custom Search

In your browser, go to Google Custom Search.

Screen 1: Click on this button to get started
Screen 1: Click on this button to get started

Screen 1 will invite you to create a Custom Search Engine. Click the button.

Screen 2: Basic information, search parameters
Screen 2: Basic information, search parameters

Screen 2 is for basic information, like the name of your search engine.
1. Under “What do you want to search?” I suggest “Only sites I select.”
2. Under “Select some sites,” put in your site with an asterisk after it. This will search your entire site. Like this:

 http://thesisthemetools.com/*

Note that you can change these settings later if you choose.

Screen 3: My search engines
Screen 3: My search engines

Screen 3: That’s it! You’re set up. Now it’s time to get the code to set up Google Custom Search on your site.

Get the Google Custom Search code for your site

From the “My search engines” screen (Screen 3), click “Control Panel.” Then in the Control Panel’s left sidebar, “Get Code.”

Control Panel: Traditional widget-search page method
Control Panel: Traditional widget-search page method

This page lets you choose one of three methods to use Google Custom Search. Most people use the second radio box, “Host results on my website using an iframe.” This method allows you to have a text widget in your sidebar for your search box, and a separate search page for the results.
1. Enter the page on your site that will be your search page. You need to have set this page up in WordPress prior to this step, since you need to know the page’s URL.
2. Select where you will want the ads to appear. (Hey, it’s free, but Google’s got to make money somehow, right?)
3. The top box of code is for your widget. Copy this code. I suggest creating a document on your computer to hold this and your search page code from the next step. But if you don’t, you can always come back and get it again.
4. The bottom box is the code you will put in your search page. Copy it.

Control Panel: New Google Custom Search Element
Control Panel: New Google Custom Search Element

This same page will also let you choose to use the new Google Custom Search Element, which shows the search results inline under the search box widget in the sidebar. If you want to try out this feature, click the third radio button and copy the code. Note that this is the same code you get if you click “custom search element” from the “My search engines” page.

You can customize the colors and look of the Google Custom Search Element. From the Control Panel, click on “Look and feel” in the left sidebar to customize your search element.

Installing the Google Custom Search code on your site

Installing the widget code into a text widget
Installing the widget code into a text widget

Installing the code into a widget is the same whether you are using the more traditional Google Custom Search code, or the new Google Custom Search Element code.
1. From the Admin panel, click on Appearance, then Widgets.
2. Grab the text widget and drag it to the sidebar where you want it to appear.
3. Open the new text widget, give it a title, then put your Google Custom Search or Google Custom Search Element widget code into it.
4. Save and test.

If you are using the new Google Custom Search Element, you are done, since the search results will appear inline under your search widget in the sidebar.

Installing the search page code into your search page
Installing the search page code into your search page

If you are using the search method that requires a search page:
1. From the Admin panel, go to Pages, then edit the search page you created before getting the page code.
2. Click the HTML tab in the upper right hand corner of the editing box.
3. Paste the code for the search page here.
4. Save and test.

Google Custom Search is now set up!

There’s nothing more to do now but to enjoy faster, more accurate search for your site.

Should you ever choose to change some of your search settings, you can always go back to Google Custom Search, choose different parameters, and grab the new code.

I hope this has been easy and clear for you. Please feel free to comment or leave me an email using the “Contact” tab.

©2009 Thesis Theme Tools. All rights reserved.

What next?

Your comments are always welcome, and are important to this blog’s community! Leave a comment now, or read the comments.

You can find several related articles in the “Related Articles” list below. In the footer you will find a lists of Popular Posts, Recent Posts, and you may browse by Categories, or tags. There’s also a Google Custom Search box to help you find just what you want.

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Hot Keys, and Content is Still King

Been really busy here in the Nichols Nuthouse, writing articles and code, and cleaning up various little odds and ends. My main thrust is to flesh out my beginning content so that there will be something here when I start advertising the site. So it’s hot-and-heavy on the keyboard for me!

Here’s what I’ve done so far since yesterday. Much of it wasn’t on my to-do list:

  • Wrote the Tutorial for Contextual Submenus.
  • Wrote the Tutorial on the Image Button Bar Menu/Submenu. I finally settled on a name for it, but I prefer to call it the Button Bar.
  • Set up the contact form with cformsII and changed field color.
  • Wrote the pages for the remaining dummy menu buttons: Tricks, Tips, Newbies, Resources, and Info.
  • Coded four different post announcement boxes for different purposes.
  • Updated the Sociable plugin’s opacity. I like it to be 70% rather than the stock 40%.
  • Researched other Related Posts plugins. Trouble is, most of them won’t work with pages, which is what this site will have the most of. Right now I’m sticking with Simple Tags just because it does pages, too.
  • Worked out an in-page call-to-action. These will actually be part of the page text, since I’ve yet to find a way to append them on selected pages only.
  • Worked on articles about how to set up Google Custom Search, Google Analytics, and Google Webmaster Tools while setting all three up for Thesis Theme Tools. Took screen shots, too.
  • Put Google Search into the sidebar, since I don’t know where else to put it right now. Also set up a search results page.
  • Found a way to display tags on the blog front page and on pages. Just check the box to display them on Archives in Thesis Options. Easy but unintuitive.

My to-do list hasn’t changed much since yesterday, since it has open-ended projects that will take a while to accomplish. Here ’tis:

  • Finish the articles on setting up Google Custom Search, Google Analytics, and Google Webmaster Tools. Includes preparing screenshots in PhotoShop.
  • Continue writing content, focusing on material I already have.
  • Continue more detailed planning of the menu tree.

And as I have time and opportunity (and need a break):

  • Continue thinking and research what it would take to do video tutorials. Find out about post-processing and pro-con of storing on server or with a service like Vimeo.
  • Contact HostGator about some necessary server setting changes for enabling teaser images.
  • Bring into DEVONthink Thesis-related bookmarks from Safari.

That’s all, folks!

Content is King Despite Outrageous Storms

I‘ve accomplished quite a bit since yesterday, despite a violent storms outside and frequent power blips (thank goodness for the UPS!). Although I “knew” it, it’s still surprising how much work there is to do getting the site set up — much more than just making the theme look and work ok. As they say, content is king, and I’ve been busy preparing the beginning content so that people will have a reason to visit TTT.

Here’s what I’ve done so far since yesterday:

  • Fixed wp-config so WordPress saves no drafts. A “feature” that bloats the database.
  • Removed the line separating content and sidebar. Godhammer calls it a “laugh-line.”
  • Brought into DEVONthink all the wandering snippets of code and DIYthemes forums snippets on my hard disk. Got everything set up to write the pages and posts for TTT, as well as organizing future materials.
  • Started a color table in custom.css for all the colors I’ve used, plus my color scheme.
  • Worked on the footer to get the fonts larger in the copyright and attribution lines. Changed footer widget body plain text font colors to the same as what Thesis uses for links. Found that I can’t change footer widget body font sizes without messing their alignment up. Oh well.
  • Restored the Anxiety, Panic & Health widget I lost in The Move.
  • Started writing content, such as the landing page, the About page, and all the policy pages. Set them all up in contextual menus.
  • Built a yellow box for post announcements based on the color scheme.
  • Did some research on what it would take to do video tutorials. I already have the software. I just need a good microphone.

My basic goal for today’s work is to add to TTT’s starting content. I want to have the site up and running as soon as practical, and I need starting content to do that. I can add bells and whistles later.

Here’s my to-do list for today:

  • Continue more detailed planning of the menu tree.
  • Continue writing content, focusing on material I already have.
  • Replicate the tutorial on Contextual Submenus I lost in The Move.
  • Finish writing the tutorial on Button Bar Menu/Submenu. Still not satisfied with the name.

And as I have time and opportunity (and need a break):

  • Continue thinking and research what it would take to do video tutorials. Find out about post-processing.
  • Contact HostGator about some necessary server setting changes for enabling teaser images.
  • Find a way to display tags on the blog front page and on pages.
  • Bring into DEVONthink Thesis-related bookmarks from Safari.
  • Set up Google Custom Search for Thesis Theme Tools.
  • Decide where I want the search bar. I was thinking in the header, but it’s already pretty crowded. May just put it in the sidebar for right now. I do want to have a cute little spyglass, though.

That’s all folks! See you tomorrow!
©2009 Thesis Theme Tools. All rights reserved.

Fourth of July, El Stupido, and Wandering Snippets

Happy Fourth of July!
Happy Fourth of July!

Happy Fourth of July! Most people take the day off and do the barbecue thing. I will do hot dogs at my best buddy’s house, but otherwise I’ll be plugging away here at the Nichols Nuthouse. My wife is in England and my daughter is doing her own thing, so I have the space to do what I want, which is plug away.

DEVONthink Pro – try it!

I set up a database in DEVONthink Pro for Thesis Theme Tools. Here I will keep my daily posts, along with all the code snippets and articles I clip. Not only a central repository, but searchable. It’s where I’ll write my posts, too. I’ve used DTP from the beginning for my other blog, Anxiety Panic & Health, and I don’t know why I didn’t think of it for this blog — I wouldn’t have lost those posts if I had. Oh well.

Yesterday I do what I intended — life intervened — but I did get a few things done:

  • Got a FeedBurner account.
  • Set up an image-based subscribe by RSS and email, and Twitter images in a widget. I already had the images from before The Big Stupido, so it didn’t take long — ripped the code off from the Mom Talk Blog with 3 Kids and Us rather than exercise my rusty HTML table skills.
  • Refined the look by making the contextual menu and background behind the button bar black and cm text white. Not so garish. May make the border a different color, too.

Today I plan to (most of which are brought over from yesterday):

  • Bring all the wandering snippets of code into DTP — this may take a while, but necessary.
  • Start a color table in custom.css for all the colors I’ve used so far.
  • Set up Google Custom Search for Thesis Theme Tools.
  • Decide where I want the search bar. I was thinking in the header, but it’s already pretty crowded. May just put it in the sidebar for right now. I do want to have a cute little spyglass, though.
  • Work on the footer widgets more to get the fonts larger in the heading and body.
  • Restore the Anxiety, Panic & Health widget I lost in The Move.

And if I have time:

  • Do more detailed planning of the menu tree. I’ve decided not to make dummy pages for all my planned documents, because users would get irritated if they clicked on something and it was just a placeholder.
  • Replicate the tutorial on Contextual Submenus I lost in the move.
  • Finish writing the tutorial on Image-Based Menus/Submenus. Try to think up a better name for it. Button Bar Menu/Submenu?
  • Start writing content, such as the landing page and some content pages. I can take some of the latter from the DIY Snippets document where I keep some of the more common and/or long-winded replies on the DIYthemes Forum.
  • Think and research what it would take to do video tutorials.
  • Decide whether I want pictures on the blog and teasers. If I do, I need to contact HostGator about some necessary server setting changes for the teasers.

That’s it. See you tomorrow!